Campaign for new Moama police station reaches boiling point

By Charmayne Allison

MOAMA'S cry for a new police station to replace its current crumbling, cramped facilities has become deafening.

As has the silence in response.

And local politicians, councillors and advocates are fed up.

“The community wants answers about when the Moama Police Station station will be renewed,” Committee for Echuca Moama (C4EM) chairperson Geoff Kelly said.

“The place is a dump, and I can’t believe you make good staff work there.”

That is the overwhelming message to Murray River Police District Commander Superintendent Evan Quarmby and NSW Minister for Police David Elliott this week as C4EM seeks an outcome of discussions to renew the station beyond short term band-aid solutions.

C4EM has been pushing for a long-term plan for the station following a meeting with Mr Quarmby and Member for Murray Helen Dalton at the station in June.

The meeting came as a result of sustained C4EM and NSW Police Association advocacy, most recently resulting in a notice of motion on September 19 to David Elliott seeking answers.

“A new police station will truly future-proof the growing region of Moama and be a crucial community asset required to undertake proactive crime disruption and prevention,” C4EM chief executive Nina O’Brien said.

“The current station is a 1930s era lock-up keeper's residence and is no longer meeting the needs of the local community, or the dedicated police staff that are forced to work there.”

The station features a range of structural and functionality issues such as gaps in the walls that you can see daylight through, a single toilet for the entire station, no change room for staff and an interview room that lacks privacy, safety glass and has access issues.

Murray River Council has been campaigning for a new station for the past 20 years.

“Given this station should have been condemned 20 years ago, I find it incredible we can't get a new facility,” Cr Tom Weyrich said.

“There's no way of segregating prisoners during events like the Southern 80, meaning people have to be transferred to Albury or Wagga and you need two officers to conduct transfers, which dries up valuable resources.”

Ms Dalton dropped into Moama this week for another tour of the facility and said such dilapidated facilities would not be tolerated in Sydney.

“We want our fair share and they've bludged for too long,” she said.

“I brought it up in a notice of motion in parliament last week and I've written to David Elliott. He said the station was fit for purpose, it's clearly not.

“Our police look after us so we need to look after them.

“I'll be holding the government to account on this. We need a new station and we need it now.”

This latest call for action comes after a long line of requests dating as far back as late 2018.

“Our message to the NSW police minister is clear,” Mr Kelly said.

“The community of Moama resolutely calls for a new modular-based, fit for purpose police station to be built on a new ‘green-fields’ site in order to meet the growing population needs of the Moama region.

“And to support the capability of local police staff to engage in the timely response, proactive disruption and prevention of crime.

“Minister, the time to act for Moama is now.”